AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

A $130 million boondoggle?

For years, Hall County in northeast metro Atlanta has sought federal permission to build a new reservoir north of Gainesville.

The planned Glades Reservoir is supposed to slake that growing county's thirst for decades to come and building it was high on Gov. Nathan Deal's priority list.

Environmentalists have long claimed Glades is the product of huckster water consultants and eager developers looking for lake-front property. Local officials say it's a pure reaction to anticipated growth.

On Thursday, the Metro North Georgia Water Planning District dealt Glades another blow by predicting a 25 percent drop in per capita water usage by 2050, based on population growth, new plumbing codes and other conservation trends. The district anticipates Hall County would need between 31-34 million gallons a day by mid-century, rather than the nearly 94 million gallons the country predicted in its permit application.

If you don't pay a water bill in Hall County, why would you care?

Well, you could own a piece of Glades. The state has set aside $40 million in taxpayer money to purchase ownership stakes several reservoirs, including Glades.

Those with environmental concerns have a real problem the plan to build Glades and other reservoirs.

And for those of you hoping to see an end to the expensive and endless tri-state water wars litigation, Georgia's planned reservoir building boom is a complicating factor.

Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Joyner’s column, AJC Watchdog, investigates topics in your community and Georgia.